Meditation Helps

meditation helped me find myself again

If it's good enough for the Beatles, it's good enough for me.


It was hard. Two jobs, countless hours volunteering, a torn household, on top of being a full time student desperate to transfer to the school of my dreams. There were days when all I wanted to do was curl up in my bed and cry, even if I knew I'd only feel worse for it. No matter what I did, I felt like I didn't have the right outlet to get rid of all the negativity that plagued me, and nothing ever interested me enough. Going to gym often heightened my self esteem issues, and most days I got home too late to go for a run (one of my best, previous ways to relieve stress).

It wasn't until one of my good friends, a budding follower of femininity and frequent user of cannabis, suggested meditation. Not going to lie, I thought it was complete b.s. at first—all those images of crystals, candles, and Mandala tapestries didn't quite fit my idea of a good time. But, as my friend painstakingly explained, meditation doesn't have to be like that if you don't want it to be. Desperate to find a way to crawl out of the headspace I found myself in all too often, I looked more into it. What I found changed my life.

There are many ways to meditate. The oldest are Buddhist practices that span back centuries, calling for those doing it to sit in a lotus position, and follow written words from the Zazen teachings. The most popular kind of meditation today is called Mindfulness Meditation, which is even taught in schools and hospitals. Mindfulness is described as "...the practice of intentionally focusing on the present moment, accepting and non-judgmentally paying attention to the sensations, thoughts, and emotions that arise."

I have tried others, like metta meditation, which focuses on loving and kindness, as well as Transcendental Meditation, which is a rather flamboyant branch that the Beatles enjoyed, but I found myself continuing to return to Mindfulness Meditation, simply because it cleared my mind the best, and allowed me to feel more in the present with whatever I did.

The first time I tried it did not go well. I sat there for what felt like hours, utterly bored and also a little stressed that I wasn't 'doing it right'. It wasn't until I stumbled across this article that detailed all of the worries a new meditator might have that I felt myself becoming more at ease with the process.

I've been doing this for about 5 months and there's still so much to learn. There's comfort, I've found, in simply setting aside some time per day to take care of my mental health. No matter where I went, or who I was with—on a friend's floor on a lazy night in, or 3000 miles away in a tiny bedroom in the heart of Tokyo—meditation was something I had to look forward to after a long and stressful day.

I know that meditation is not for everyone. For some, it might seem scary and stressful to even try to turn the brain off, but I am a firm believer in trying anything at least once. In this case, it paid off. Meditation can help with establishing a healthier headspace, and the community is one of the friendliest and most helpful I've seen. The practice itself is hundreds of years old and there is a type and method of meditation out there for everyone. is one of the best places start, in my personal opinion, and apps like Calm or Headspace can provide comfort in the form of guided meditation or music. It's easy to get lost in the never ending noise of our fast paced lives and feel so utterly lost and alone in one's worries, but finding the time for some mental healing is a great way to start the process of becoming a happier and healthier person.

Cover Image Credit:

Celine Nguyen

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From The Girl Who's In Shape But Not Perfect

Embrace the treadmill. But also embrace pizza.

So, here's the thing:

I'm a girl who is in shape, but hey, I'm still human. Let me explain...

I can run a 5K.

But I still get completely winded going up the stairs.

I go to the gym most days of the week.

But, I have a lot of days where I just don't move from my bed.

I try to eat healthy as often as I can.

But sometimes, a whole pizza with everything on it is the only thing that hits the spot.

I have muscles that I'm proud to show off.

But I also have rolls when I sit, which I am also proud to show off.

I'm also proud to admit that:

Chocolate is still my stress reliever.

Some days I can't get myself to go to the gym.

Sometimes I eat a bag of Doritos after my workout.

I have days where any remote form of physical activity sounds like hell.

Food is my best friend.

So yes, I'm in shape. But I'm absolutely not the "perfect" in-shape girl.

I'm proud of my body and everything that it can do, and I treat it in the best way that I can. I stay in shape, I run, I exercise, and I eat things that are good for me. However, I'm also a girl who loves herself a burger and fries, who spends a whole day in bed, who has fat on her body and lives a normal life. I have school, work, homework, a social life - my health is absolutely one of my top priorities, but I'm not worrying about how I didn't go to the gym this day or how I ate four cookies that day. As long as I can look at myself and know that I'm treating my body well and I'm happy with myself, I'm good with it.

Your health should be important to you, but your emotional and mental well-being should be important, too. And sometimes, instead of the usual day in the gym, a day in bed is what you need.

Embrace your rolls. Embrace your muscles. Embrace that pizza. Embrace a fruit salad. Embrace your bed. Embrace the treadmill.

You're all good, girl.

Cover Image Credit: Marion Michele

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Part 1: Necessary Changes

One of my favorite movies is "Fried Green Tomatoes" with Kathy Bates. In the movie Bates' character Evelyn Couch says, "Someone helped put a mirror up in front of my face, and I didn't like what I saw one bit. And you know what I did? I changed." I know the feeling.


I looked in the mirror over the weekend and didn't like what I saw.

The person I saw looking back at me is petty, selfish, manipulative, and unattractive. It wasn't that I hated what I saw, but I definitely didn't like what I saw either. It's a surreal feeling, looking at yourself through a critical lens, and it doesn't make you feel good in any way shape or form.

The image that I see of myself is not how I want others to perceive me. I want to be someone that people look at and see kindness, compassion, strength, and confidence.

I have enough general life experience to know that these types of changes aren't going to happen overnight, and not all of them will be physical; most of these will have to happen from the inside, from within myself.

When you find out you are all broken and damaged, it's hard to know where to start putting the pieces back together. I figured the best place to start would be the most literal: my actual insides; so, I decided to embark on a deep-cleansing journey to get all of the toxins out of my body, from the inside out.

I found this book on 10-day green smoothie detox stashed away in the dark corner of my bookshelf. The science behind it seems accurate and legitimate. By eliminating certain foods, your body is able to detox itself off of chemicals and foods that are slowing down your metabolism; the smoothies are specifically designed with combinations of foods that help restart your metabolism. Part of the detox process is getting rid of all dependencies on caffeine, alcohol, and sugar.

Every day you are given the recipe for a specific smoothie; you make the smoothie (about 40 ounces) and sip on it throughout the day whenever you get hungry. Every smoothie is a combination of leafy greens, water, fruit, and flax seeds. If you do happen to get hungry throughout the day, you are encouraged to eat raw nuts, hard boiled eggs, and a wide variety of crunchy green vegetables. There is also a detox tea that you have first thing in the morning, but other than that no other beverages are allowed except water.

I know that this is only the beginning of a very long, emotional, and draining journey. But I think I'm at the point in my life where I have to make these changes. I have to put my pieces together, I have to become a normal functioning adult, I have to find out who I am. I think that this is the perfect way to start.

For the next 10 days I am going to be documenting my experiences, how I'm feeling, what my emotions are doing, and any results that I see.

Stay tuned!

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